Crossing Spec Ops: The Line

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SpiderJerusalem:

You seem to be fundamentally confused about one thing:

IT'S A GAME. It's not about real people. These aren't REAL folks in any REAL situation. It is a game that has game mechanics and game logic - hence all the bullshit about "thinking like mortals without the hope for continues" is ridiculous, because had this logic been actually used they would not have gone against the entire guerilla army in the first place.

Weakest argument ever!

They want you to invest in the characters as if they are real people. In that respect it's no different from a film or a book. They're not actual people putting their actual lives on the line. But to those of us with even a modicum of imagination, we have this brilliant ability called 'suspension of disbelief.'

And aside from a few jarring parts of the game, such as the silly fall. I totally had it throughout the game.

And as I've said countless times now. Walker always chooses the easiest path, he never goes up against extreme odds if he has a game changing weapon at his side.

So to say that it's realistic to assume 3 soldiers should storm and massive base with tanks and APC's with just a rifle when there's a viable option say right next to them.

Well it's just plain stupid.

The loss of agency for that scene is important not only to the events of the actual story but the entire end character arcs of the 3 protagonists.

Within the stories own fiction it needed to happen and there was no viable alternative for the characters to choose.

Besides, up to that point they've constantly respawned, fought the odds and done whatever they wanted without the game once actually making any statements about realism. You got shot? Hide behind cover for a bit and walk it off. Hit a grenade? Walk it off. Oh, a guy is running at you with a knife, better shoot him a few times and hope he drops, but watch out, he's special, so it'll take more ammo this time.

It's like arguing with a child.

The characters are not aware that they respawn. They only face down indomitable odds when there's no alternative because that's what humans do. There was a clear alternative to storming a base full of soldiers and vehicles half cocked. It's rational to take that alternative.

What you're arguing about is how realistic the gameplay is. Which has fuck all to do with how realistic or simply convincing the storyline is.

Everything about the game is just that; unrealistic and made under the rules of the game mechanics.

Because a 'get shot once = total gameover' game would be impossible the play. Atleast on that scale.

Are you saying they should all be riding on fucking unicrons and calling in air strikes from the pigeon bridgade because the gameplay isn't 100% true to life?

Because I don't believe that you're simple enough to believe the shite you're spouting. You're just being pedantic.

To drop them and make a situation that forces the player to do just one thing because the writers couldn't be arsed to handle the situation in a different way IS lazy writing.

Have you even played the game? That one moment is the freaking foundation to which the second and third acts, right up until the reveal at the end, are based on.

It's not laziness. It's storytelling.

What you're asking for would be a completely different storyline.

If he didn't kill those civilians he wouldn't have imagined Konrad and made up fictitious events as a reaction to his realisation that he doesn't have any control over the situation.

That's like a good 80% of the stories meat just gone.

This event is pivotal and the lack of agency is part of the freaking message.

Fuck!

What would have stopped them from allowing you to attack the encampment?

The fucking tanks and APC's for a start.

If you fancy taking those out with and M4 though, more power to you. I'm sure Lugo and Adams would have given you a nice funeral.

In the heat of battle you get a tip "throw grenades in tents to surprise enemies" or what have you, suddenly you realize that one grenade took out a bunch of civilians.

'Oh no, but I totally realised that there were civilians in that tent. I could tell by the patterns of movement on the tent sides. So I didn't throw the grenade because I saw it coming.'

Or whatever. The options are there.

No not whatever, that event needed to happen. It was the basis of a large part of the story. You're just trading one loss of agency for another if you force them to kill civs in some other manner.

Now, it remains a lazy, lazy method of forcing tragedy on the gamer without actually allowing the player to truly be a part of that.

Totally ignoring part of the message which was that there wasn't a viable alternative. If they wanted to complete the mission this had to happen.

Imagine how that scene would have felt if you had been fully in control?

Except that that's not possible. If it's an inevitability then you aren't in control. You just have the illusion of it, which this game intentionally took away.

Without the game making a big deal of it and allowing the horror of your actions to dawn on you slowly in a way that feels organic and not just a cut scene that plants you in a "shut up and watch us do this thing" feel.

Lots of lovely words, lovely hollow words.

(Max Payne 3 had a bunch of these similar bullshit moments. They're just as lazy there as they are here, so whatever thinking you might have that this beef is JUST Spec Ops related, it's not.)

Because telling a linear story is just bad wrong badong. Unless you have the option to throw aids riddled monkey blood at the final boss' face and come back 6 months later to watch him die slowly in hospital, then you don't have any choices.

Then what's the point?

To expand on the sarcasm before you give me the 'ugh I never said that, stop putting words in my mouth.'

What I'm saying is that linear storytelling is not a bad thing. Not every game has to be Skyrim.

In my personal opinion a story is strongest when the director/designer has more control over the events. Players influencing certain things are fine. But a strong story needs strong emotive moments. And they're hard to achieve when you give the player complete and total control. Even something as trivial as a camera angle changes the impact that a scene has.

RapeisGenocide:

I bet you missed the fact that whenever Walker has a hallucination, the screen fades to white. A normal fade is black. The last sequence? All white.

Or how bout when you reach the starting sequence of the game again, where Walker states 'This again?'. That can be interpreted in many ways, one of them being that Walker died after the helicopter crash, and that everything to come after is a way of punishing himself. I can assume, because you've obviously missed the subtle nuances of the story, the parts that try to add deeper meaning into what's already established.

You do realize that both are extremely well used (and, some might argue, overused) tropes in games and films? Especially the "oh, this again" has been in so many games it's become almost a meta joke unto itself. Most of these games also star Nolan North.

And you don't actually rebut what I said about those civilians possibly being soldiers. You even see some of them running back and jumping into that trench. So yeah, it's a safe bet that people knew about it in some shape or form. With the amazing clairvoyance powers you posses, everything you read, watch and play must already be spelled out for you. No I can understand why you're so mad all the time.

This is ridiculous - you cannot accept that fact that people knew (or sensed) what was happening, so you're going to assume the viewing and reading habits of everyone who has commented on this thread regarding the matter (note: I'm not the only one who has posted that they knew what was going on).

I find your lack of understanding quite pathetic. You don't dig for deeper meaning, or try to view something from a different angle. Hell, you think Metro 2033 has a good story, when ironically it's your run-of-the-mill post apocalyptic game (it has a nice atmosphere though, I'll give you that). You just spout out structurally sound sentences and think it makes you right. There's no thought behind your words, no attempt at trying to sound reasonable. It's just you, your ego and your irrational hate.

Oh the irony. You attack me for discounting Spec Ops as a manipulative and poorly written game, yet do the exact same thing for Metro 2033 (conveniently missing out on the terrific nuances regarding Russian folklore, history, society and the excellent game play mechanics that allow the player to influence the outcome of the game without ever drawing attention to itself). Was Metro perfect? Nah. Some levels were poorly designed and the voice acting was atrocious, but as for how the story was handled? Brilliant.

Also, God exists. Stay mad.

No proof = Occam's razor.

Not even going to bother with addressing the first part, because you seem so thoroughly lost in misunderstanding all arguments that dare to question the foundation of the storyline, that anything further is wasting valuable energy.

Abandon4093:
your actions to dawn on you slowly in a way that feels organic and not just a cut scene that plants you in a "shut up and watch us do this thing" feel.

Lots of lovely words, lovely hollow words.

As demonstrated here.

(Max Payne 3 had a bunch of these similar bullshit moments. They're just as lazy there as they are here, so whatever thinking you might have that this beef is JUST Spec Ops related, it's not.)

Because telling a linear story is just bad wrong badong. Unless you have the option to throw aids riddled monkey blood at the final boss' face and come back 6 months later to watch him die slowly in hospital, then you don't have any choices.

Wow, you seem so lost. So, very, very lost.

Have you played Max Payne? There's a moment there about halfway through the game that features Max clearing out nearly an entire flavela. As he reaches the top level with the hostages that he's looking for, what does he do?

He is outside, armed to the teeth, nobody inside knows that he's there. The windows are all open, the bad guys are looking the other way. Previously to this he has cleared out rooms and rooms full of enemies in similar situations.

Does he try that? Does the game allow the player to go for it? Nope. It goes to a cut scene with Max conveniently throwing away all his weapons and WALKING IN THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR.

Hostages get shot, Max continues his quest wondering why he keeps getting women killed.

That's poor storytelling and in any other media would be laughed out of the screening room instantly. It's also an example of the writers not having a clue of how to take the story in an organic way towards their desired goal - as is the case with Spec Ops.

SpiderJerusalem:
Not even going to bother with addressing the first part, because you seem so thoroughly lost in misunderstanding all arguments that dare to question the foundation of the storyline, that anything further is wasting valuable energy.

Not a big surprise. You've either handwaved away or totally ignored everything anyone says to you that you don't have an answer for. Usually followed swiftly by a sad attempt to change the direction of the conversation.

... Oh, right on cue.

your actions to dawn on you slowly in a way that feels organic and not just a cut scene that plants you in a "shut up and watch us do this thing" feel.

Lots of lovely words, lovely hollow words.

As demonstrated here.

[quote](Max Payne 3 had a bunch of these similar bullshit moments. They're just as lazy there as they are here, so whatever thinking you might have that this beef is JUST Spec Ops related, it's not.)

Because telling a linear story is just bad wrong badong. Unless you have the option to throw aids riddled monkey blood at the final boss' face and come back 6 months later to watch him die slowly in hospital, then you don't have any choices.

Wow, you seem so lost. So, very, very lost.

Have you played Max Payne? There's a moment there about halfway through the game that features Max clearing out nearly an entire flavela. As he reaches the top level with the hostages that he's looking for, what does he do?

He is outside, armed to the teeth, nobody inside knows that he's there. The windows are all open, the bad guys are looking the other way. Previously to this he has cleared out rooms and rooms full of enemies in similar situations.

Does he try that? Does the game allow the player to go for it? Nope. It goes to a cut scene with Max conveniently throwing away all his weapons and WALKING IN THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR.

Hostages get shot, Max continues his quest wondering why he keeps getting women killed.

That's poor storytelling and in any other media would be laughed out of the screening room instantly. It's also an example of the writers not having a clue of how to take the story in an organic way towards their desired goal - as is the case with Spec Ops.

Yes I have played it and that one scene made sense in context. If he'd had just started shooting all of the hostages would have been shot.

It may not have been the games best scene but it hardly condemns the rest of the game.

Now I've pretty much only replied with one paragraph, I wonder what you can dutifully ignore this time?

Abandon4093:

SpiderJerusalem:
Not even going to bother with addressing the first part, because you seem so thoroughly lost in misunderstanding all arguments that dare to question the foundation of the storyline, that anything further is wasting valuable energy.

Not a big surprise. You've either handwaved away or totally ignored everything anyone says to you that you don't have an answer for. Usually followed swiftly by a sad attempt to change the direction of the conversation.

... Oh, right on cue.

You do realize that this is a whole bunch of pot calling the kettle black?

Because telling a linear story is just bad wrong badong. Unless you have the option to throw aids riddled monkey blood at the final boss' face and come back 6 months later to watch him die slowly in hospital, then you don't have any choices.

Wow, you seem so lost. So, very, very lost.

Have you played Max Payne? There's a moment there about halfway through the game that features Max clearing out nearly an entire flavela. As he reaches the top level with the hostages that he's looking for, what does he do?

He is outside, armed to the teeth, nobody inside knows that he's there. The windows are all open, the bad guys are looking the other way. Previously to this he has cleared out rooms and rooms full of enemies in similar situations.

Does he try that? Does the game allow the player to go for it? Nope. It goes to a cut scene with Max conveniently throwing away all his weapons and WALKING IN THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR.

Hostages get shot, Max continues his quest wondering why he keeps getting women killed.

That's poor storytelling and in any other media would be laughed out of the screening room instantly. It's also an example of the writers not having a clue of how to take the story in an organic way towards their desired goal - as is the case with Spec Ops.

Yes I have played it and that one scene made sense in context. If he'd had just started shooting all of the hostages would have been shot.

It may not have been the games best scene but it hardly condemns the rest of the game.

It makes no sense in context. He's a professional, hired killer who knows his job, walking in the front door is a spectacularly out of character move in every possible way. It's also contrary to the inner logic that game has built itself upon.

It's also an important part that does condemn a bunch of what happens next because the entire last half of the game is built up on that moment. And if that moment is weak, guess what the following plot points are going to be.

SpiderJerusalem:

Abandon4093:

SpiderJerusalem:
Not even going to bother with addressing the first part, because you seem so thoroughly lost in misunderstanding all arguments that dare to question the foundation of the storyline, that anything further is wasting valuable energy.

Not a big surprise. You've either handwaved away or totally ignored everything anyone says to you that you don't have an answer for. Usually followed swiftly by a sad attempt to change the direction of the conversation.

... Oh, right on cue.

You do realize that this is a whole bunch of pot calling the kettle black?

Go back and look at every single one of my replies to you.

I've addressed every sentence in detail.

Whereas you just go 'pseudo-intellectual' and then ignore 90% of the post.

Do not try and flip the this shitbucket of a conversation.

It makes no sense in context. He's a professional, hired killer who knows his job, walking in the front door is a spectacularly out of character move in every possible way. It's also contrary to the inner logic that game has built itself upon.

It's also an important part that does condemn a bunch of what happens next because the entire last half of the game is built up on that moment. And if that moment is weak, guess what the following plot points are going to be.

Except that there were about 4 armed kidnappers in the room, atleast 2 of which had the guns trained on the hostages. Had he shot one or two of them he'd likely have gotten all of the hostages killed.

And yea, you've successfully moved the conversation away to something that has absolutely nothing to do with the original discussion.

Well done.

If you're not going to have a proper discussion there's simply no point continuing this.

You'll just keep ignoring 90% of my posts and brining up new bullshit when you run out of ways to defend your old bullshit.

Abandon4093:

SpiderJerusalem:

Abandon4093:

Not a big surprise. You've either handwaved away or totally ignored everything anyone says to you that you don't have an answer for. Usually followed swiftly by a sad attempt to change the direction of the conversation.

... Oh, right on cue.

You do realize that this is a whole bunch of pot calling the kettle black?

Go back and look at every single one of my replies to you.

I've addressed every sentence in detail.

No, you've filled every answer with hyperbole and numerous iterations of "you don't get it, this was the point, you can't change it!" and never once have done anything except countered with the equivalent of "nuh uh", hence: no point in responding.

Except that there were about 4 armed kidnappers in the room, atleast 2 of which had the guns trained on the hostages. Had he shot one or two of them he'd likely have gotten all of the hostages killed.

Again, this doesn't matter. He has cleared rooms and rooms of these same situations before. There's even a bit where he takes out guys with a shovel - despite the other one pointing a gun at his friend. Max is shown to be many things, but never an incompetent, which is what the developers make him for five minutes in order to conveniently drive the plot to their chosen direction.

And yea, you've successfully moved the conversation away to something that has absolutely nothing to do with the original discussion.

If you actually would manage to read what I write, and actually think about it for a second, you'd have noticed that I used Max Payne as an example of the same writing gimmicks that Spec Ops used as a detrimental and poor way of handling linear story telling.

But no, you decided to ignore that part. Hence: pot. kettle. black.

SpiderJerusalem:

Abandon4093:

SpiderJerusalem:

You do realize that this is a whole bunch of pot calling the kettle black?

Go back and look at every single one of my replies to you.

I've addressed every sentence in detail.

No, you've filled every answer with hyperbole and numerous iterations of "you don't get it, this was the point, you can't change it!" and never once have done anything except countered with the equivalent of "nuh uh", hence: no point in responding.

Bullshit, go read the last proper comment.

I responded to a ton of your shit. Hyperboled 2 pieces. One of which I then went on to explain properly aftwerads.

Except that there were about 4 armed kidnappers in the room, atleast 2 of which had the guns trained on the hostages. Had he shot one or two of them he'd likely have gotten all of the hostages killed.

Again, this doesn't matter. He has cleared rooms and rooms of these same situations before. There's even a bit where he takes out guys with a shovel - despite the other one pointing a gun at his friend. Max is shown to be many things, but never an incompetent, which is what the developers make him for five minutes in order to conveniently drive the plot to their chosen direction.

How were they the same situations when there weren't any hostages? And the gun wasn't pointed at his at that moment semi unconscious friend. It was pointed at him.

And he is shown as incompetent. He's constantly drunk and allowed his charge to be kidnapped twice. That's pretty fucking incompetent for a body guard.

Max is good at killing people, keeping other people alive whilst this happens, not so much.

And yea, you've successfully moved the conversation away to something that has absolutely nothing to do with the original discussion.

If you actually would manage to read what I write, and actually think about it for a second

Don't even fucking go there you hypocrite.

you'd have noticed that I used Max Payne as an example of the same writing gimmicks that Spec Ops used as a detrimental and poor way of handling linear story telling.

Yea, and then you totally abandoned spec ops when you figured out you've got fuck all worth saying about it and moved completely on to Max.

I don't want to get into another conversation with you where all you do is thinly veil insults at me whilst ignoring what I'm saying.

Whilst also accusing me of ignoring you for some genius fucking reason.

But no, you decided to ignore that part. Hence: pot. kettle. black.

Clearly not fucking ignored when I spent a fair whack of time talking about in the context of the spec ops discussion in post 106.

Which I seriously don't think you actually read.

Abandon4093:

Whilst also accusing me of ignoring you for some genius fucking reason.

I'm sorry, my mistake. You did not ignore it.

You just did not understand.

Still Life:

Gethsemani:
-Snip-

I went into Spec Ops completely blind because I knew it would be story driven. It wasn't long before the now infamous mortar scene, where it had become pretty clear that the tone was going to get very dark.

Still, I played that scene out like any other Modern Warfare game (though, I certainly noted the reflection in the monitor) where I engaged the targets that I was presented with because I wanted to progress to the next stage. I knew as I targeted further up the encampment that there was a large concentration of people near an 'enemy' vehicle, and many of their silhouettes were indistinct in the heat of battle. Still, my task was pretty clear up to that point and I proceeded to rain death upon those hapless folks.

As I was surveying the dead civilian bodies, I became very much aware of the many realities of war that modern games, and other forms of pop-culture media conveniently make a habit of side-stepping.

Powerful stuff, and it's one of the best examples of good story-telling in a video game to date. I could easily write a lengthy essay on it, because I found Spec Ops jam packed with meaning (in a good, but sobering way).

This was pretty much my thought exactly. Once I saw the distinctly unarmed heat signature in the trench I was like "Are those civilians?", pondered dropping a round on them too just to be safe (which I think says something scary about me) but quickly decided to just focus on the vehicle that was highlighted as a target. The following walk through the camp and trench was firmly a "walk of shame" for Walker to me, but it also made me reflect on the state of modern FPS games and war in general and what kind of terrible weapons are actually used in modern conflicts.

I like to think myself as pretty good at reading plots, as an example I had Shutter Island figured out about halfway through, but it wasn't until I entered the last chapter that I realized that Walker had been an unreliable narrator for most of the game. The way they build up his "insanity" is pretty subtle and they made a terrific job of showing the slowly disintegrating cohesion of the squad as they are put under more and more pressure (and a lot of Lugos and Adams animosity makes a lot more sense when you consider that their CO is actually turning psychotic right before their eyes while they are trapped inside a hostile city without no way out).

Yes, I totally agree with your assessment that Spec Ops contains some high quality storytelling. Not only because it manages to weave a powerful main storyline, but also because it handles its' subtext and theme very, very well. Hopefully it will sell well enough that the studio will be allowed to make another game, because I am looking forward to seeing what they can do next.

SpiderJerusalem:

Abandon4093:

Whilst also accusing me of ignoring you for some genius fucking reason.

I'm sorry, my mistake. You did not ignore it.

You just did not understand.

And again he abandons the majority of the conversation for a thinly veiled insult.

And think about this for a second.

We'd been discussing how in Spec ops you had no choice but to do the phosphorus routine and how a lack of agency either hindered or helped the story.

And then you say this.

(Max Payne 3 had a bunch of these similar bullshit moments. They're just as lazy there as they are here, so whatever thinking you might have that this beef is JUST Spec Ops related, it's not.)

You're not exactly giving me a lot to go off there champ.

I assumed you were simply talking about being unable to influence certain events and how you didn't like this.

The first thing that sprang to my mind was the end confrontation where Max shoots the corrupt cops grenade mid flight and it leaves him completely butchered.

I thought you had a problem with this because you were forced to do something in the same way Spec ops forced you to douse the civis.

Really, those two make for a much better comparison than Fabiana's death. Considering that was just a straight cutscene and you weren't being forced to do anything.

Next time, if you want to be smarmy about someone not understand the very specific point you were making. Make sure you communicate it in a way that those of us without precognition could understand.

Abandon4093:
snip

Nope, you're still missing the point. You can continue being obtuse, but wouldn't it be more fun to understand?

I've made my feelings on the matter perfectly clear way back when this whole thread started, I even offered alternatives that would have kept the storyline as it is - except for changing the execution to something less lazy. I even argued that the story itself was lazy in a number of ways, giving evidence to the matter regarding the material it so liberally took from. I then even compared it to other linear games, as was the topic, and pointed out that same lazy tactics have harmed other decent games recently.

But, sadly, you continue to miss the point and argue the same nonsensical things over and over, thinking you're somehow doing favors.

Oh rats.

:edit:

Catchpa: it happens.

Awesome.

Yathzee, Ebert doesn't give a fuck and even if he does and play THIS game in particular it wont be as effective as you said it is. UNLESS, he has played video games to the point that he knows the tropes and cliques that entail them or at least can enjoy the idea of games to the point that the dehumanizing element is overshadowed by the fun.

Let me put it this way, remember The Stanley Parable? the reason of WHY its so awesome is because it deconstructs the tropes that developers use to force the players INTO a single linear path to make sure they don't ruin their carefully crafted story. Tropes that a GAMER could understand by experiencing this phenomena before hand.

Roger isn't going to be affected by:
"Not the gore, not the darkness in Walker, but the darkness in me" unless there is already a preconception of what to expect in a genre that uses a lazy story to justify the mindless killing of "opposing forces" for fun and profit.

SpiderJerusalem:

Oh the irony. You attack me for discounting Spec Ops as a manipulative and poorly written game, yet do the exact same thing for Metro 2033 (conveniently missing out on the terrific nuances regarding Russian folklore, history, society and the excellent game play mechanics that allow the player to influence the outcome of the game without ever drawing attention to itself). Was Metro perfect? Nah. Some levels were poorly designed and the voice acting was atrocious, but as for how the story was handled? Brilliant.

You mean the story that has an almost complete lack of player agency? The story in which only the most anal-retentive of exploring (since like 70% of the "flashpoints" needed are awarded by exploration) players will get the "good" ending on the first playthrough and most won't even realize there are two ending unless they get a guide? Don't get me wrong, I love Metro 2033 and its' source material and I think it has one of the best realized moods and atmospheres to date but to argue it as a prime example of storytelling as opposed to Spec Ops is bullshit.

Both games expect the player to relinquish control over major decisions (Why do I have to go with Hunter? I didn't want to leave my home station!) in order to set up the later plot. Both games contain moral dilemmas that have no immediate repercussions or aren't actual dilemmas because you don't have a choice (Do I really want to help the ranger and place the laser guidance sytem?). One might argue that Spec Ops: The Line is quite often derivative, but it is also very well aware of when it is and often is so intentionally to drive home a point.

Look, you are free to dislik Spec Ops: The Line for any of its' many flaws (below-par graphics, repetitive gameplay, extreme use of the color brown etc.), but the narrative, the plot and the deconstruction of the modern warfare genre of games are the strong points of Spec Ops: The Line. Your entire argument so far has stemmed out of your inability to distinguish between player and protagonist agency. Just like Artyom has no choice but to leave VDNKh or to help the Rangers, so does Walker have no choice but to use the WP to assault the Gate.

SpiderJerusalem:

Abandon4093:
snip

Nope, you're still missing the point. You can continue being obtuse, but wouldn't it be more fun to understand?

Can you read or not?

I'm not missing the point now, I was pointing out my original train of thought after you left a very vague comment about Max Payne 3 in the discussion about Spec Ops.

I'm seriously beginning to think you lack basic reading comprehension.

I've made my feelings on the matter perfectly clear way back when this whole thread started,

Yea, you don't like that you weren't allowed to magic up a good solution and you think anyone who does like it is stupid. You made that part abundantly clear.

I even offered alternatives that would have kept the storyline as it is - except for changing the execution to something less lazy.

And I pointed out why they wouldn't work. Lookit, I'll do it again.

you:
In the heat of battle you get a tip "throw grenades in tents to surprise enemies" or what have you, suddenly you realize that one grenade took out a bunch of civilians.

me:
'Oh no, but I totally realised that there were civilians in that tent. I could tell by the patterns of movement on the tent sides. So I didn't throw the grenade because I saw it coming.'

you:
Or whatever. The options are there.

me:
No not whatever, that event needed to happen. It was the basis of a large part of the story. You're just trading one loss of agency for another if you force them to kill civs in some other manner.

you:
Now, it remains a lazy, lazy method of forcing tragedy on the gamer without actually allowing the player to truly be a part of that.

me:
Totally ignoring part of the message which was that there wasn't a viable alternative. If they wanted to complete the mission this had to happen.

you:
Imagine how that scene would have felt if you had been fully in control?

me:
Except that that's not possible. If it's an inevitability then you aren't in control. You just have the illusion of it, which this game intentionally took away.

I even argued that the story itself was lazy in a number of ways, giving evidence to the matter regarding the material it so liberally took from.

You argued it was lazy because it didn't give you an alternative to the phosphorus scene.

I argued that that was the point. Even going as far as to mention that the other choices you actually made had no baring on the story with the phosphorus scene being Walkers realisation that any sense of control he had over the situation was simply an illusion, and the whole Konrad and the hanging choice was his way of coping with this.

By immediately creating an omnipresent character to demonise and blame whilst forcing himself to make what he considered to be an important choice. A choice that quite literally gave him the power over life and death.

You responded with ______________

I then even compared it to other linear games, as was the topic, and pointed out that same lazy tactics have harmed other decent games recently.

You made an extremely vague comparison to Max Payne 3. So vague that you didn't even bother to provide an example scene until after you abandoned the spec ops argument.

But, sadly, you continue to miss the point and argue the same nonsensical things over and over, thinking you're somehow doing favors.

Now that really is the pot calling the kettle.

erttheking:
Ah but you see, you DID make the choice...you made it when you popped the disk in. You started playing to game the kill people...and you got your wish. You could have just turned the game off and walked away...but you didn't.

Those virtual lives would be lost in someone else's gaming system. There was no way to prevent those deaths, the player is not at fault.

TheSYLOH:
The part that really got to me was the fact that the entire time, you see a reflection of your characters face in the screen.
All the Modern Warfare types have a sort of detached feel to them. You're just some distant AC-130 lobbing genocide at anonymus blobs.
In Spec-Ops it hammers it home, YOU! YES YOU! are the one doing this horrible thing.
If you got a glossy screen you can see your own face superimposed over Walker's face.

That my friends is ART!

Spec Ops: The Line is somebody's Art Game that just so happened to be born a Third Person Modern Warfare Shooter.

If by art game you mean "we are more focused on making ourselves look smarter than actually create good gameplay" then you are 100% correct.

I can't rationalize those arguments. Now killing people is suddenly different because I am being told people are dying?

Whoa. So deep.

That was sarcasm.

Angry_squirrel:
Do you read a book, or watch a film, and complain that you're not being given a choice as to the protagonist's actions?

Non-interactive media. Irrelevant.

ElPatron:

erttheking:
Ah but you see, you DID make the choice...you made it when you popped the disk in. You started playing to game the kill people...and you got your wish. You could have just turned the game off and walked away...but you didn't.

Those virtual lives would be lost in someone else's gaming system. There was no way to prevent those deaths, the player is not at fault.

TheSYLOH:
The part that really got to me was the fact that the entire time, you see a reflection of your characters face in the screen.
All the Modern Warfare types have a sort of detached feel to them. You're just some distant AC-130 lobbing genocide at anonymus blobs.
In Spec-Ops it hammers it home, YOU! YES YOU! are the one doing this horrible thing.
If you got a glossy screen you can see your own face superimposed over Walker's face.

That my friends is ART!

Spec Ops: The Line is somebody's Art Game that just so happened to be born a Third Person Modern Warfare Shooter.

If by art game you mean "we are more focused on making ourselves look smarter than actually create good gameplay" then you are 100% correct.

I can't rationalize those arguments. Now killing people is suddenly different because I am being told people are dying?

Whoa. So deep.

That was sarcasm.

Angry_squirrel:
Do you read a book, or watch a film, and complain that you're not being given a choice as to the protagonist's actions?

Non-interactive media. Irrelevant.

You're missing the point, you didn't play the game to not kill someone. The point is that most games are very linear and follow a set story, much like a book or a movie. I don't get why Spec Ops is a military shooter, (a series with very linear stories) is being criticized for lack of choice.

erttheking:
You're missing the point, you didn't play the game to not kill someone. The point is that most games are very linear and follow a set story, much like a book or a movie. I don't get why Spec Ops is a military shooter, (a series with very linear stories) is being criticized for lack of choice.

But somehow the game is supposed to have an emotional engagement with the player when he faces the things he chose to do. Except he didn't. He had to. Which gives it the "ends justify the means" feeling. Honestly, it made it fall short in my opinion. Do this, this is wrong. Whoopeti-doo.

I felt more "emotional engagement" in "No Russian". At least I had the time to convince myself I was committing an awful crime for the sake of not having to put someone else trough that situation, and obviously trying to save millions of lives in the process. And the game never pretended it was really my fault or my choice.

ElPatron:

erttheking:
You're missing the point, you didn't play the game to not kill someone. The point is that most games are very linear and follow a set story, much like a book or a movie. I don't get why Spec Ops is a military shooter, (a series with very linear stories) is being criticized for lack of choice.

But somehow the game is supposed to have an emotional engagement with the player when he faces the things he chose to do. Except he didn't. He had to. Which gives it the "ends justify the means" feeling. Honestly, it made it fall short in my opinion. Do this, this is wrong. Whoopeti-doo.

I felt more "emotional engagement" in "No Russian". At least I had the time to convince myself I was committing an awful crime for the sake of not having to put someone else trough that situation, and obviously trying to save millions of lives in the process. And the game never pretended it was really my fault or my choice.

I don't think you really get the idea. Basically you agreed to do everything in the game when you turned it on. If you really didn't want to do it you could have just turned it off and walked away. Because let's be honest, it may not have been your "choice" but it wasn't your "choice" when you incinerate the weighted companion cube in Portal and be honest with me, did you really hesitate to use the mortar?

erttheking:
it may not have been your "choice" but it wasn't your "choice" when you incinerate the weighted companion cube in Portal and be honest with me, did you really hesitate to use the mortar?

No, it wasn't my choice. I did what I have to do to accomplish my goals. Even incinerating the companion cube.

ElPatron:

erttheking:
it may not have been your "choice" but it wasn't your "choice" when you incinerate the weighted companion cube in Portal and be honest with me, did you really hesitate to use the mortar?

No, it wasn't my choice. I did what I have to do to accomplish my goals. Even incinerating the companion cube.

Well then you have another way of looking at it, you wanted to accomplish your goal and while doing so, you caused the deaths of a couple dozen people. You wanted to accomplish the goal, and in order to get to it you made a staircase of bodies. Either way you are responsible for killing those civilians, there's no denying that.

SpiderJerusalem:
Except it's NOT the player that makes the decision, it's the game. The entire sequence was so poorly written and played out that I knew that the "oh god, what have you done?!" moment was only seconds away. So I did nothing. I refused to start shooting.

That's the rationalisation Walker keeps trying to use...

Also, you do have a choice. You can open fire on the soldiers with your guns, and see how far you get.

ElPatron:

Non-interactive media. Irrelevant.

I'm gonna have to fight you on the words there. 'Non-interactive media'. There is no such thing whatsoever called "Non-interactive media". One definition for interactive is acting upon or in close relation with each other. By that definition, watching the tv or reading a book is interactive media. You pick up a book, read the words, turn the pages. You are interacting with the story, absorbing what is given to you. When you read, do you imagine what will happen in the story later on before you get to the end of the book? That's interacting with the story of the book. Do you get mad then if the book didn't go how you wanted it to go then? Same with television, grabbing the remote, turning to the show you want, and watching/listening to the show going on. I bet you have the same imagination running in how you think the show will go.

By the very nature stories interact with our minds, they are not "Non-Interactive".

Abandon4093:
Excessively long missing of the point

If, after all that, you still can't see a coherent pattern of argument that you keep attacking then I'm afraid this entire conversation is pointless. You will continue to refuse to understand my point, despite my attempts to have it explained in a number of ways, and we will continue going in circles as you follow up with yet another "don't change the subject! don't you dare bring examples into this, that's changing the subject!" rant.

Gethsemani:
The story in which only the most anal-retentive of exploring (since like 70% of the "flashpoints" needed are awarded by exploration) players will get the "good" ending on the first playthrough and most won't even realize there are two ending unless they get a guide?

Wait, are you actually arguing the game is bad because exploration is rewarded? Really? I'm the least anal retentive gamer when it comes to going through the game (I'm mostly invested in the story and have little attention for sidequests or treasure hunts or what have you) and I still managed to get the good ending on the first run. I knew there were other endings, because a review had stated as much, the next time I barreled through the game, just going through the main plot points in an effective and brutal manner. Boom, bad ending.

Don't get me wrong, I love Metro 2033 and its' source material and I think it has one of the best realized moods and atmospheres to date but to argue it as a prime example of storytelling as opposed to Spec Ops is bullshit.

Notice how I said telling the story in an organic way that doesn't break gameplay. I think that Spec Ops is awful in it's writing and can't be salvaged from the swamp of mediocrity that it's in, while Metro is, for the most part, well written and engaging. But that's just a matter of opinion.

What I argue is that Metro has a far better implementation of player control towards the story. Choices are made naturally and without much attention being drawn to them, the game doesn't rub your face in it if you decide not to broadcast the radio signal halfway through the game, nor does it start moralizing you if you don't give street urchins money or decide to attack everyone you see on sight. Things happen and the ending fits how you've played.

Both games expect the player to relinquish control over major decisions (Why do I have to go with Hunter? I didn't want to leave my home station!) in order to set up the later plot.

That's ridiculous, you're arguing between a major turn of events at the end of the first act and THE FIRST SCENE OF THE GAME as being the same thing. Metro starts with the main character narrating that he has always wanted to leave his station and find help, as his home is dying. That's not a forced decision, that's where the story begins. If you're really thinking that these two are comparable, this argument is useless.

Both games contain moral dilemmas that have no immediate repercussions or aren't actual dilemmas because you don't have a choice (Do I really want to help the ranger and place the laser guidance sytem?).

Did you play the game? Did you not notice that your choices regarding the radio transmission dooms an entire station? Did you not notice that the entire laser guidance system can also be chosen not to be placed? You are constantly given two options, but the game is smart enough not to start underlining everything and putting it in big bold letters - they just state very clearly: this is what is at stake, you decide.

Look, you are free to dislik Spec Ops: The Line for any of its' many flaws (below-par graphics, repetitive gameplay, extreme use of the color brown etc.), but the narrative, the plot and the deconstruction of the modern warfare genre of games are the strong points of Spec Ops: The Line.

Not fact, and there are quite a few people who would argue against that. My opinion still stands that it's nothing more than your average action shooter trying to pretend it has something deep to say when it's nothing but hollow echoes.

Your entire argument so far has stemmed out of your inability to distinguish between player and protagonist agency. Just like Artyom has no choice but to leave VDNKh or to help the Rangers, so does Walker have no choice but to use the WP to assault the Gate.

And you still seem confused with basic set up and beginning of a story and a major decision that removes established gameplay choices in order to force a plot twist on the player instead of organically tying it into the design that has been previously set in place.

You do realize that both are extremely well used (and, some might argue, overused) tropes in games and films? Especially the "oh, this again" has been in so many games it's become almost a meta joke unto itself. Most of these games also star Nolan North.

Because...because you say so? You don't actually supply any type of comparison to back your statement up. You're just spouting bullshit as usual because you're trying so hard to put down a game that wants to do more with its story when compared with its generic counterparts. Mad as hell.

Oh the irony. You attack me for discounting Spec Ops as a manipulative and poorly written game, yet do the exact same thing for Metro 2033.

I attacked you're pathetic nature in refusing to understand a well thought out story for a military shooter, not Metro 2033. Calling it 'run-of-the-mill' doesn't mean I didn't see the way it told its story, either. Or that I disliked it. You're stretching so much to make an argument, I can feel the mad in your words.

No proof = Occam's razor.

Funny how none of your posts have any proof in them. Mad man.

SpiderJerusalem:

And you still seem confused with basic set up and beginning of a story and a major decision that removes established gameplay choices in order to force a plot twist on the player instead of organically tying it into the design that has been previously set in place.

Since this is the gist of our contention, the rest being pretty irrelevant details, Ill just focus on it. As far as player agency goes there's no difference between "You have to leave the station in order to save it" and "You have to use WP to defeat these enemies". Since your argument hinges on the loss of player agency during the Gate chapter in Spec Ops, it is strange that you pick a game which has just as little player agency during major plot points.

Besides, I'd argue that the WP scene comes pretty organically in the context of the established storyline. Walker and his squad faces an obstacle they realize they won't be able to get through by conventional means, so Walker decides to use a weapon we've been show previously is terrifying because it is the only way he'll ever get past the enemy camp. Considering the character you are playing (a driven special forces soldier), it makes sense that he wouldn't launch a suicidal attack or turn back, just like it makes sense that Artyom leaves VDNKh even if the player never gets to decide whatever we want to stick around until the monsters overrun the station or not.

SpiderJerusalem:
And yet more bullshit and handwaving.

See, I can do it too.

Only it's true for me to say that you handwave away anything you don't have an answer for and avoid massive chunks of my posts as a result.

ElPatron:

erttheking:
it may not have been your "choice" but it wasn't your "choice" when you incinerate the weighted companion cube in Portal and be honest with me, did you really hesitate to use the mortar?

No, it wasn't my choice. I did what I have to do to accomplish my goals. Even incinerating the companion cube.

That's exactly how Walker see's it.

Just for reference, verbally beating down and insulting people isn't the best way to win converts. Your not playing as a super badass who can take 100 guys on and then convince them your right

SpiderJerusalem:
Umm, yeah? It is. Force the player to do something and then scold them for doing it and pretend that it's some kind of artistic statement? That's bad design right there.

That wasn't what happened, though.

Really, all that need be said is this: "Would you kindly...?"

DjinnFor:

SpiderJerusalem:
Umm, yeah? It is. Force the player to do something and then scold them for doing it and pretend that it's some kind of artistic statement? That's bad design right there.

That wasn't what happened, though.

Really, all that need be said is this: "Would you kindly...?"

People keep bringing up Bioshock as if it's supposed to somehow validate something.

All it does is remind me that poor storytelling has been in critically acclaimed games before, and will continue to be for quite a while still.

Being the stupid bastard I am, I ignored Yahtzee's advice, and read this review a couple of days before playing the game myself. So I was aware that there would be a scene that was supposed to make me feel guilty for even taking the game out of it's box. When the time to bomb those civilians came, I was thinking "What Yahtzee was saying, was bullshit, I don't feel guilty for burning those people, I don't even feel remorse" But when I had to face what I had done to the civilians, those thoughts went away and were replaced by "Well, I guess I am officially an asshole, aren't I ?" The years of playing games like CoD, and BF, made me think I had become immune to any "shocking" mommnets, but that scene, really made me reconsider.However, it wasn't the image of the mother hugging her child that gave me those emmotions, it was the dying enemy soldier, that talked to Walker, right before he saw the dead bodies of the civilians. His final words "We were trying to help", instead of dehumanizing him, and the rest 33rd, dehumanized Walker and his men. That made me feel like I was the monster in this story, instead of the enemy.Every detail from that point on, made me feel worse and worse for killing members of the 33rd.

lax4life:

Aha, that's interesting. I just shot my rifle into the air a bunch and they just scattered. I think there are more choices in this game than we're aware of.

OT: My absolute favourite part of all of this was the way the atmosphere was pushed into gameplay. Towards the end, Walker's executions, while never pretty, became more and more psychotic as he tumbled into madness. Similarly, when giving orders to your squad, they used to confirm in a regular, cooperative way, whilst by the end, they would respond snarkily and angrily.

It was beautiful.

EDIT: Oh, also, the loading screens. I can't find any images of them on the 'net, sadly :( but god damn.

SpiderJerusalem:

DjinnFor:

SpiderJerusalem:
Umm, yeah? It is. Force the player to do something and then scold them for doing it and pretend that it's some kind of artistic statement? That's bad design right there.

That wasn't what happened, though.

Really, all that need be said is this: "Would you kindly...?"

People keep bringing up Bioshock as if it's supposed to somehow validate something.

All it does is remind me that poor storytelling has been in critically acclaimed games before, and will continue to be for quite a while still.

Sorry to jump in the conversation so late but why Bioshock is brought up? the only reason of why the game mocks the player choices is because there wasn't one really.

Replace the good old invisible walls with closed doors = critical acclaim? It could have been more powerful if ALL the choices lead to the same conclusion to feel the horror of free will being an illusion or to at least demonstrate that the antagonist were effectively very well prepared to anticipate your every move and fuck you over no matter what you do.

erttheking:
Either way you are responsible for killing those civilians, there's no denying that.

There is a difference between being ordered to kill civilians and orders can be refused, let court-martial handle it.

I never really had a choice.

LordOfInsanity:
snip

All very true, but I don't think I understand why is that relevant.

And I don't get mad when things don't end the way I want. I get mad when I get plot-holes. Then I start "Retake [insert name]" on Facebook.

Abandon4093:
That's exactly how Walker see's it.

Walker, as a character, had a "choice". The narrative made him chose a path. Fine by me, I'm in.

But trying to make *me* feel guilty for something that was never my responsibility? That's pretty far-fetched.

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